Directed by Sharon ‘Rocky’ Roggio, 1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted Culture is an essential documentary that delves deeply into the pain and suffering of the 2SLGBTQIA+ communities at the hands of churches. Because of the ways that Christians have interpreted scripture, many queer-identifying Christians continue to face judgment or opposition from their communities. Here, Roggio and her team trace the Christian anti-gay movement back to 1946, as a mistranslation of the text resulted in the first appearance of the word ‘homosexual’ in the Bible. Ever since that day, Conservative Churches have used Scripture as a way to draw lines between worlds, damaging communities in the process.

One of the greatest strengths of 1946 is the length that it goes with its research. Dedicating much of its runtime to the quest for truth, the film sits within its exegesis of ancient translations. For this particular film, neither Christianity nor the question of Biblical truth are up for debate. Instead, the ways that culture has historically understood that truth is on trial. As such, Roggio places the film’s message squarely at more conservative churches by challenging the ways that they believe the passages they use as ‘sacred weapons’.

Even so, what’s most fascinating about this piece is its tone. By making her relationship with her father the film’s emotional core, Roggio ensures that there’s a genuine sense of grace for those who stand on the opposing side. Yes, her father is seen as obstinate in his arguments and we bear witness to the pain that he causes with his inability to reconsider his beliefs. Yet, at the same time, she still loves him. Despite the pain that has been caused by the Christian community (including her father), Roggio’s love of others and her faith never wavers. Instead, she simply wants people to listen. 

After all, she believes that ‘[they’re] victims of bad theology, just like we are.’

1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted Culture is currently streaming at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. For more information, click here.

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